Your Home Improvements


Dear Robert,

We have a home in Valencia and are in the middle of remodeling various parts of it.

Painting our kitchen cabinets is on the list but we’d also like to make the operation of the doors and drawers better.

I know that there are a million different choices out there. What do you recommend for both of these areas?

And can one update from the hinges that you see, to the hidden ones? How is this done?

Also, is painting the cabinets something that the average person can take on or should I hire this out? Would they be able to do the hinges also?

By the way, do you still have mugs available? I’d love to have one, as I read your article weekly.

-Marty C.


First, if you are proficient and experienced in cabinet painting, then by all means, you know what you’re getting into and you could move forward with the task. A lot will depend on the result you’re looking for.

Painting contractors that do this for a living usually have the best turnout aesthetics-wise, as they know the tricks of the trade and can usually get a more professional look.

If you are confident that you can achieve the look that you are going after, then you’ll save a significant amount of money doing it yourself.

The hinges are a whole different story.

Yes, most painting contractors that do cabinet work can change the hinges out for you. This takes additional skill and tools, as the European (hidden) hinges require routing out an area of the wood, along with filling holes from the existing hinges.

Again, if this is work that you can do, move forward with the project.

My personal choice is to have this type of work done. In fact, I had the cabinets done in my home about two years ago. I contracted it out and am so glad that I did, as the amount of work is extraordinary. I love the finished work and know that there is no way, even with my knowledge, that I could have achieved this high quality finish.

They do this work daily and have much more skill.

As far as the drawers, it’s likely that if you’re asking about updating the operation; that you have the old school track that the drawer slides with. This is usually a track above the drawer, and there is a guide attached to the back of the drawer that keeps it on and functioning.

The newer glides are fantastic. These attach to the side of the drawer and cabinet, and make the drawers not only slide much more smoothly, but you can buy the glides that will automatically finish the closing process for you.

You simply begin the closing process and then let go, and they slowly complete the close. They are slightly more expensive, but they are high-end. And at any time when you sell, this (along with updated cabinets) will definitely be a selling point.

Good luck with your project, let me know if you need a local recommendation for all of these applications, I can help with that.


Hi Robert,

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being willing to share your wealth of knowledge with everyone here in Santa Clarita.

The rains we just received are a “slick” reminder to me that our walkway just outside of our home, down to the sidewalk, is extremely slippery when wet.

As far as I know it is the original concrete that was poured when the house was built in approximately the early 80’s, but I’ve never come in contact with concrete that is so slippery!

Is there anything that I can do as a homeowner, with not a lot of skill, to this area that will take away the slip and fall danger that we deal with?

Luckily so far no one has been seriously hurt, however, many have slipped – and a few have actually fallen. I’d like to do something quickly, before we receive more rainy weather.

I’ve attached, photos of what this looks like both wet and dry. Please share your best advice with me on what can be done.

Of course I’d like an inexpensive option but if replacing is my only choice then I can consider that, though I’d prefer to save money especially at this time of year.

Thank you in advance, for your help.

– Nancy W.


When the concrete is in this state, we call it “glazed.”

Its condition is from years of wear, a lot of water and walking, and the cream from the concrete is super shiny.

To break the glaze you’ll need to wear protective clothing including long sleeves and pants, plus gloves and respiratory and eye protection.

Next you’ll use a muriatic acid mix of 50 percent acid and 50 percent water. With a scrub brush you’ll apply this mixture to the concrete, controlling exactly where it goes, preventing it from getting onto your grass and other areas. Let this set for about 10 minutes, then rinse off.

You will see that some areas are perfect and others are in need of being redone, so just simply repeat this process. It will give your concrete a rough look, but will solve your slip hazard issue.

If you find that you simply don’t like the look, you’ll need to go to a total replacement of the area.

The acid option is definitely worth a try though, as this is a low cost approach. Most importantly though, protect yourself when using this product, it will burn your skin, eyes, nasal passages, anything it comes into contact with.

Good luck.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS